Alternative Break Leadership Experiences are one of the core programs of the Office of Service Leadership that allow college students to engage in immersive service experiences outside of the campus community and learn more about social issues affecting today's society. Each experience offers students an opportunity to build new relationships with other students, staff, and faculty in and out of the classroom, travel outside of the campus community, and have a life-changing experience through service. In addition to traveling and serving, students will have a chance to learn more about social issues in their community. In the past, trips have focused on urban poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, disaster relief, youth education, and international development. Please see the experiences offerings for more details on each experience.
Our Experience Offerings for the 2015 - 2016 School Year:
Fall Urban Experience: Friday, November 13th - Sunday, November 15th
Total Cost: $55/team member
For the fifth year, this Fall Alternative Break Experience will focus on those experiencing homelessness in our own community. We'll partner with JOIN, an organization working to alleviate poverty and homelessness in Portland. Through hands-on service, in-depth reflection, and authentic relationship-building, we will learn how we can take action to assist those in need of love and compassion, and how we can address these issues in our neighborhoods. This will be a weekend, overnight experience in Portland. *Note: You can apply for this fall experience AND a spring/summer experience..
San Francisco, California: March 20th-26th
Total Cost: $700/team member
We will work with organizations in the Tenderloin District, an inner-city area of one square mile in San Francisco with 37,000 residents, which is 300 times more crowded than the rest of the city. We'll prepare, serve, and deliver food to home-bound individuals; work with low-income children in and after-school program; perform outreach on the streets to those experiencing homelessness; and, most importantly, build relationships with everyone we meet. While we travel to San Francisco for this week-long trip, we will learn how we can affect change in our own communities upon our return. This experience will focus on homelessness and urban poverty, with a specific focus on children.
Seattle, Washington: March 20th - 26th
Total Cost: $375/team member
Concordia students who are part of the Office of Multicultural Services Peer Mentoring program will travel to Portland's sister city of Seattle to partner with local organizations working to address homelessness and urban poverty. We will work on a variety of projects including: preparing and serving meals to the homeless population of Downtown Seattle, tutoring in after-school programs, and assisting other non-profits with projects. This experience will give us a chance to learn more about these issues in the context of the greater Pacific Northwest. *NOTE*: Students who are a mentor/mentee in the Office of Multicultural Services Peer Mentoring Program will receive priority during selection for this team.
To learn more about the 2015 Seattle ABLE, watch this video!
Atlanta, Georgia: May 1st - 7th
Total Cost: $850/team member
We will partner with Lutheran Services of Georgia to assist refugee families and individuals who are resettling in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Currently, Atlanta is one of the most prevalent places for refugees seeking to resettle in the United States. We will assist with language classes, help families settle into their new homes, assist with senior center programming, and help in an after-school program for children of refugees. This experience will focus on refugee resettlement and social justice issues that surround this process, and we'll have a chance to learn about how Portland is taking action to serve our own refugee neighbors.
Port-a- Prince Haiti: May 5th - May 12th
Total Cost: $2,200/team member
During May 2016, a team of Concordia students and staff/faculty will travel to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to work with Forward Edge International, a Vancouver, WA based organization. Forward Edge International partners with local agencies in Haiti that provide a medical clinic; a school; homes for boys, girls, and widows who have been orphaned; and multiple housing communities. The team will have the opportunity to complete a number of needed projects in the community and interact with children in the various ministries in which Forward Edge partners. This trip will focus on international development and poverty as it relates to communities affected by natural disasters. We will also discover how we can connect to and aid those who experience poverty around the world.
To learn more about the 2015 Haiti ABLE, watch this video!
How Alternative Break Leadership Experiences Work
- Students may apply for both a fall and spring/summer trip as noted in the application and, if selected, may attend a fall semester and spring semester trip. Decisions for fall trips and spring/summer trips are made separately and interest in one does not determine eligibility or ineligibility for the other.
- All travel expenses, food, and lodging will be covered by the cost of the trip. For a spring/summer trip, the trip cost will be assessed as a lab fee connected to the 1-credit LDR course. For the Fall Urban Experience, the trip cost will be collected through the Office of Service Leadership and will not be connected to a lab fee or tuition in any way.
- In the spring, students will enroll in the San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle or Haiti LDR leadership course, which is a 1-credit elective course required for all participants. These classes will meet either weekly or bi-weekly and serve as an opportunity for the team to prepare for the experiences that will be had while on the trip. Students will have the opportunity to bond as a team, gain knowledge about the social issues and location that will be encountered on the trip, and prepare to serve those community needs well.
How to Apply
- If you'd like to express interest in receiving updates about Information Sessions, reminders for application deadlines, and any additional updates, please fill out an interest form.
- Alternative Break Leadership Experience Participant Applications are available August 24th-and are due by 5pm on Wednesday, September 23rd, and must be completed online.
- After sending in your application, you will need to visit the Office of Service Leadership on the 2nd floor of Hagen to sign up for an interview time - you must sign-up for an interview by 5pm on Friday, September 25th.
- Interviews will be conducted throughout late September and early October with team announcements being available by late October.
Note: This ABLE application process is competitive. Both your written application as well as your interview will be used in helping the Office of Service Leadership select outstanding teams of students for all trips.
Still have questions? Contact Kelsey Kava by email or 503-280-8677 or Kim Clutter by email or 503-280-8667. Feel free to stop by the Office of Service Leadership on the first floor in Hagen as well to learn about these experiences.